This cancer ‘experience’ continued with an ‘opportunity’ to have cancer on my birthday … but although, as with most of this treatment, I feel a bit like I’m watching from above… it managed to be a very pleasant day! My (2nd cousin, or 1st once removed) Izzy (and we were pen-friends for years) arrived the evening before and we went out to A Tavola, and had a lovely meal (very grateful that I’ve not lost my tastebuds, as many do on tax-based chemo).
It was an early start, with bloods due to be taken at 8.30am (very swiftly!) …
The bloods trolley:
You spend much of your day confirming name, date of birth and first line of address – and see sudden realisation as they note the date, though this may have made it hard to miss (and note the hair, although v flat, is still holding on – although my eyebrows and eyelashes have thinned out a lot):
That photo was taken whilst we were enjoying a full on breakfast whilst the bloods results were being sorted, to give the go-ahead for chemo (they allow about 2 hours for this)
Every medical professional I have met in this process has been caring, if over-worked, and I got a great surprise when I was just chatting away with Izzy, cold-cap wedged on my head, to hear the tune of Happy Birthday start up, and a cake had been pre-ordered from the kitchens (was lovely, although left it for the nurses to enjoy once we’d had our slice each):
And here’s my face not long after the cake had arrived (note, new dress, with POCKETS!):
I had taken them cake too!
We carried on chatting away for the 3-ish hours it take the cold/cap and chemo to work – and taken what has now become a bit of a tradition – a treatment selfie (didn’t do the early ones though!)
They do put it on quite tightly (but that’s why it works!):
We then decided to follow the advice from the MEN re ‘5 of the best hot chocs in Manchester‘, as Cocoa Cabana was just ‘down the road’. Half-a-mile is surprisingly tiring post poison-filling-session, but we made it, despite a slight ‘eek’ at number 128 where they clearly were originally, then looked back on the website – phew, number 168!
Very nice salted caramel dark hot choc, and a couple of chocolate truffles, plus enjoyed watching Frank watching the traffic go by:
Wet hair (did you know the nurses buy the conditioner themselves?), tired, but nice to ‘do’ something that feels a bit birthday-like!
Then the big challenge to walk back to the car park – we did wonder at points if I was going to make it, but slow, steady plodding does it!
I received some royalties from Raising Children in a Digital Age in the post, so looking forward to buying the original:
Enjoyed receiving cards/parcels that was able to open during chemo and when I got home, when chilled, chatted, and enjoyed fish and chips with Stuart and Karen (sorry think my arm was tired and wobbling):
No steroids on week 3, so the lack of sleep from the night or two before chemo (when the brain just won’t settle) – and to bed…
Listening to Harry Potter read in Stephen Fry’s dulcet tones is great to drift off to sleep to, and I slept through til 10am today (so 11+ hours of sleep) – woke and tweeted the world
#Cancer: it’s so glam. When the day after #chemotherapy you have to wipe your eyes open, peel a layer of skin off your mouth, blow the blood out of your nose, and pour medication down your throat first thing … before collapsing back into bed! Birthday was good tho! #fb pic.twitter.com/WfqrmVHuYn
— Dr Bex Lewis (@drbexl) March 10, 2018
Post came this morning, including balloons from someone I’ve never met, but we chat on the #WIASN group:
And the rest of the day will be not moving much, enjoying re-looking at the all the Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp, Text, Post, etc. happy birthdays – I feel loved – thank you! Looking forward to celebrating Christmas, New Year and Birthday some point in the summer!
Dr Bex Lewis is passionate about helping people engage with the digital world in a positive way, where she has more than 20 years’ experience. She is Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing at Manchester Metropolitan University and Visiting Research Fellow at St John’s College, Durham University, with a particular interest in digital culture, persuasion and attitudinal change, especially how this affects the third sector, including faith organisations, and, after her breast cancer diagnosis in 2017, has started to research social media and cancer. Trained as a mass communications historian, she has written the original history of the poster Keep Calm and Carry On: The Truth Behind the Poster (Imperial War Museum, 2017), drawing upon her PhD research. She is Director of social media consultancy Digital Fingerprint, and author of Raising Children in a Digital Age: Enjoying the Best, Avoiding the Worst (Lion Hudson, 2014) as well as a number of book chapters, and regularly judges digital awards. She has a strong media presence, with her expertise featured in a wide range of publications and programmes, including national, international and specialist TV, radio and press, and can be found all over social media, typically as @drbexl.